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FARMINGTON — It was more than 15 minutes after a chaotic shootout on Hopi Street last month before a Farmington police officer said on his radio that medics were treating the two surviving gunshot victims.

Meanwhile, the man accused of firing the first shots received a ride to the emergency room and started to receive treatment less than four minutes after the shooting.

A gun fight at a home at 101 E. Hopi St. left one man dead and four others injured. Two of the injured men, Lawrence Kellywood, 26, and Levi Wilson, 31, have been charged with felony murder and other crimes for allegedly starting the shootout.

Levi Wilson
Levi Wilson (Courtesy of San Juan County Adult Detention Center)

Farmington police responded and used the "critical incident management" skills learned in training. It's the same response police would use when responding to any major crisis, from a shooting to a natural disaster to a large crash, said Sgt. Donnie Kee, the police department's critical incident management instructor.

The police response is aimed at protecting the public and quickly defusing an emergency. But it can also slow the time it takes paramedics to respond to those who are injured because police have to secure the scene before medics can enter and give aid.

Farmington police this week released audio recordings of 911 calls and police radio communication during the shooting on Hopi Street. The recordings offer more details about the police's response.

The shooting

Michael Tafoya, David Anderson and Kathleen Keck were at Tafoya's house that Saturday evening. Just before 8:40 p.m., Keck, 26, received a phone call and stepped out on the porch. Moments later there was a knock on the door, and Tafoya, 27, opened the door and saw a man with a hooded sweatshirt pulled over his face and a hand behind his back, according to court documents.

"A second before it all went down I realized something wasn't right," Anderson said Friday.

Anderson told police he went to Tafoya's bedroom just as the man in the hooded sweatshirt -- who police said was Kellywood, according to court documents -- started shooting at Tafoya.

Wilson, who was outside behind Kellywood, also fired shots into the home, according to court documents.

Tafoya happened to have two guns near him. Police said he emptied a 14-round magazine from a semiautomatic pistol and then grabbed a revolver and fired five more rounds.

Kellywood was shot in the face and arm. Wilson was shot in the hand. Keck was shot in the chest and arm and Tafoya was shot in the arm and armpit.

Lawrence Kellywood
Lawrence Kellywood (Courtesy of San Juan County Adult Detention Center)

Christopher Valdez, 40, was a neighbor who lived on Orchard Avenue. He ran toward the shooting, yelling at Wilson and Kellywood, and police said he was struck in the chest by a stray bullet and died in the street.

Wilson and Kellywood fled in a vehicle and Kellywood was dropped off at San Juan Regional Medical Center. A hospital employee called police dispatch at 8:42 p.m. and said they were treating a man who had been shot in the face.

Wilson returned to the hospital later that night to be treated for his wounds.

Anderson said that after Kellywood and Wilson left, Tafoya went out to the porch and pulled Keck back into the house and started working to save her life.

The police response

Neighbors near Tafoya's started calling 911 to report the shooting at 8:38 p.m. and the first officer arrived on scene at 8:39 p.m., according to dispatch records.

At 8:40 p.m., officers were ordered to create a "hot zone" spanning a block in each direction from Orchard and Hopi, according to police communication recordings.

A "hot zone" is the area surrounding a crisis, Kee said. The size can vary depending on the situation.

The purpose is to block traffic and keep pedestrians away from an emergency.

Within the hot zone, police will stop traffic, order people into their homes or vehicles and sometimes detain people until officers have more information about the developing situation, Kee said.

"The officers aren't trying to be rude, it's an emergency in progress," Kee said.

For several minutes the night of the shooting, the responding officers blocked traffic and created a perimeter around the scene of the shooting.

At 8:44 p.m. an officer said on his radio that he had checked Valdez's pulse and that he was dead. It was around that time that an officer also said paramedics arrived and were told to "stage," at Majestic Media, 100 W. Apache St. When they stage, they make necessary preparations and wait for police to secure the scene.

Staging in a safe area near the scene of a shooting or other emergency is standard procedure for paramedics, who are not armed and are not wearing life-saving bullet-proof vests like police, said Ed Horvat, the manager of the hospital's EMS program.

"It makes no sense to add additional bodies to the body count, and that's what you would be doing if you send people in there and can't guarantee their safety," Kee said. "Their safety has to be the priority."

At 8:47 p.m. officers said they heard another gunshot southwest of Tafoya's house. The medics were told to continue staging at Majestic.

Three minutes later, an officer said police had taken Anderson and Tafoya into custody and were waiting to get more information about the second gunshot.

Anderson said police ordered him and Tafoya to slowly back out of the home and then they were detained.

At 8:54 p.m., an officer said the gunshot was "unrelated" and not a danger.

A minute later, an officer said medics were treating Tafoya and Keck.

Inside the home

Anderson called 911 from his cellphone at 8:39 p.m. and stayed on the line for 11 minutes until police arrived, arrested him and took him to the police department for questioning. He was not charged with a crime.

On the 911 call he gave the dispatcher the address and briefly described the shooting. He said that both Tafoya and Keck were shot but Keck was more severely injured. He said she was covered in blood and "fading fast."

"A man was shot. A woman was shot. Two people were shot. We need an ambulance right now," Anderson said.

After several minutes on the phone the dispatcher told Anderson that the ambulance was staging nearby and that he had to try to stop Keck's bleeding until police decided the scene was safe. The dispatcher asked questions about Keck and Tafoya's condition and told Anderson to get clean towels on Keck's wounds.

"We see the cops but where's the ambulance?" Anderson said. "We need the ambulance. That's the most important thing."

Several minutes later police can be heard giving orders and Anderson never gets back on the phone.

Anderson said the situation was a blur. He still can't recall or estimate how long it was from the time the shooting happened to when medics arrived.

"It could have been an hour, it could have been a minute," he said Friday in an interview. "But I can't tell you the difference."

The case

Anderson said Friday that neither he, nor Tafoya or Keck knew Kellywood or Wilson prior to the shooting.

Police have not said what the motive for the shooting might have been. In court documents, a witness said she heard Wilson tell Kellywood the day of the shooting that he wanted to "make a name for himself."

Anderson said the only reason he and Tafoya and Keck survived was because Tafoya was armed with handguns when the men came to the door.

"If this truly was a random act. If they were out to slaughter an apartment full of people, it's good the came where they came, where someone could defend themselves," he said. "I'm sorry (Valdez) lost his life. That's horrible. ... But Mike (Tafoya) had a gun on him and that's what saved us, the fact that Mike (Tafoya) was carrying."

Tafoya and Keck could not be reached for comment.

Kellywood and Wilson have been charged with first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, shooting an occpuied dwelling, two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and conspiracy to commit murder. Though police have not said which shooter killed Valdez, both Kellywood and Wilson are being charged for his death because their alleged attempted murder of Tafoya lead to Valdez's death, making each of them criminally responsible, Detective Sgt. Brandon Lane said previously.

Kellywood and Wilson are scheduled to have a preliminary hearing on Aug. 28.

Ryan Boetel covers crime and San Juan County for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4644 and Follow him @rboetel on Twitter.